Posts Tagged ‘sanctuary’

The inspiring hero behind one of my favorite sanctuaries

Today I’m at one of my favorite places in the world: Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. My “Everything Animal Reiki” class starts today! (Looking forward to seeing you if you’ve signed up.) Situated on 40 beautiful pastoral acres in the English countryside, Remus was founded in 1983 by Sue Burton. Here are a few of the reasons why Sue is such an inspiring animal hero to me, including a closer look at what makes Remus so special:

1. What was once a post-war dairy farm is now home to more than 200 rescued farm animals—among them horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep and the resident cats and dogs.

2. Sue founded Remus partly because, as she states on her website, “I have always had a great belief in wrong and right and total respect for all living creatures—be they animals or humans. I could not believe that in this country [England] we could stand by and watch an animal suffer and die needlessly and that we would not all move mountains to ensure it never happened again.”

3. Sue makes sure that holistic remedies like Reiki take center stage at Remus, and for a variety of ailments—including tumors, cancer, colic, Cushing’s disease, chronic emotional problems and end of life. Sue says of the animals, “They’re all Reiki sponges up here.”

4. Thanks to Remus’ cutting-edge Elderly Horse Campaign, local horse people are educated about the various things they can do to help their horses thrive in their golden years.

5. Sue and her staff of 10 (and more than 50 volunteers) take extra special care of the animals. “We want to actually make their life better,” she says. “Not just look after them, but give them something back.” In addition to food, water, veterinary care and love, these animals—who previously found themselves in abhorrent conditions—also get sugar-free feed; natural herbs; soft, sandy floors; and even a solarium.

6. An amazing 70 percent of the rescued horses at Remus are more than 20 years of age—including the adorable Orchid, who just celebrated her 49th birthday. In fact, Remus is currently petitioning Guinness World Records to recognize Orchid as the world’s oldest horse.

7. Remus has won many prestigious awards. In 2011, the sanctuary won Best Horse Rescue Center in the UK from The Wetnose Burgess Awards.

8. In 2014, Remus won £500 as runner up in the Heart of Essex Awards, which honor the most deserving unsung heroes in the community.

9. Remus is also a “Best Place to Visit With Your Dog,” according to The Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs UK awards.

10. Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones, is patron of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary.

Who is your animal hero? Share with us in the comments below!

Photos copyright Charlotte Jensen and Kathleen Prasad.

Starting an animal rescue: what you need to know

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start your own animal rescue or sanctuary? I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this would be a dream come true. It’s so inspiring to read about others who’ve gone before and turned their ideas for rescues into realities—for instance, Farm Sanctuary, The Gentle Barn, Bat World Sanctuary, Center for Great Apes and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (just to name a few). If starting an animal rescue sounds like your true calling in life, here are four questions to ask before you take the leap:

What kinds of animals do you want to save?
There’s a big difference between establishing a small shelter to save a handful of cats and dogs vs. exotic big cats, elephants or horses. Think ahead about what size and type of facility or acreage you’ll need, and if you’ll have access to the resources and space necessary to manage it. Start small in the beginning so you can work out all the kinks and stay on top of what comes—you’ll have the ability to expand later once your rescue takes off.

How comfortable are you with the business side?
At the end of the day, a nonprofit is a business just like any other. You’ll need a team of people you trust and critical business skills to ensure success. Yes, you’ll be helping animals—but you’ll also spend your nights and weekends writing a business plan, filling out paperwork to obtain nonprofit status, managing people and zoning issues, fundraising, handling legal issues and more. If you’re sure starting an animal rescue is for you, learn all you can before you launch. You can take an informative workshop on the topic from Best Friends Animal Society, read books such as How to Start and Run a Rescue by Jennifer Williams, and interview the founders of other rescues for their best tips for success.

Is it really viable in the long term?
An animal rescue can quickly grow out of control if not managed and funded properly. How will you pay for rent, vet bills and so on? Will you be able to raise money, grow membership and pay salaries in the long term? There are also emotional issues such as burnout and compassion fatigue to deal with, which are real risks for those spending their lives helping homeless and abused animals. It’s a lot to think about, but don’t lost hope: Look around at all the animal rescues that inspire you, and keep in mind that they, too, faced challenges such as these in order to start and grow to where they are today.

What’s your ultimate goal?
I’m guessing that your goal is, in general terms, to help animals in need. But sometimes, starting a rescue isn’t the best way to serve those animals. Perhaps your animal rescue idea is already successfully established in your local community, and simply volunteering there might be a better use of your time and resources. Or, instead of a shelter, brainstorm alternative nonprofits you can start to help animals. For instance, my Shelter Animal Reiki Association isn’t an animal rescue, but we do bring Reiki programs into shelters and sanctuaries worldwide—and that work supports hundreds and thousands of animals in a different way.

Do you dream of opening an animal rescue? I’d love to hear about it.

The amazing ways farm animals are inspiring change

I just spent a wonderful weekend teaching animal Reiki at Chenoa Manor, a farm sanctuary in Avondale, Pennsylvania. The animals (and people) were so welcoming! I just loved spending time with them and being on the farm. There is something special about farm animals. I feel like these days, everywhere I turn I’m hearing stories of how farm animals opened people’s hearts to compassion, inspiring amazing lifestyle and diet changes. Even Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame has purchased a New Jersey farm to turn into an animal sanctuary. Here are a few more inspiring examples of farm animals inspiring change:

1. Rowdy Girl Sanctuary: A cattle rancher’s wife in Texas, Renee King-Sonnen recently converted their cattle ranch (which had been used to sell livestock for meat for four generations) into the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Now the 96-plus acres save farm animals from slaughter and give cows, chickens, pigs and the like a safe place to live out their lives. She and her husband are also practicing vegans.

Get inspired by these 6 smart superstars for animals

You may not be familiar with everyone on this list, but to me, they’re all superstars for animals in their own right. Read on (and get ready to be inspired!) by these truly influential heroes for the animals:

1. Jenny Brown, co-founder and executive director of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary: Brown left her successful TV career behind after witnessing the plight of factory farm animals while volunteering as an undercover videographer for an animal rights organization. Today more than 200 rescued chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys and other animals call WFAS home. In her 2012 memoir, The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals, Brown shares the inspiring story behind her journey from childhood cancer survivor to vegan animal rights activist. WFAS is currently moving to a new New York location that will expand the sanctuary from 23 acres to 150!

Sanctuary spotlight: The CARE Foundation

I’ve just finished another awesome, whirlwind weekend teaching animal Reiki and mindfulness at a very special place: The CARE Foundation in Florida, an exotic animal rescue center and SARA shelter. Every year Leah D’Ambrosio (my Shelter Animal Reiki Association partner) and I fly cross-country to spend time with the beautiful big cats and reptiles (and my students, of course!). I can’t wait to share more about my adventures with you, but until then, here are some fun facts about this amazing wild animal rescue:

BASED IN: Apopka, Florida (about 30 minutes from downtown Orlando)

ABOUT THE animals at CARE: CARE is a wild animal rescue center and wildlife educational facility that gives permanent homes to “non-domestic, non-releasable” animals. The wide variety of species at CARE includes bears, big cats, birds, crocodiles, monkeys and more.

BEHIND THE acronym: CARE stands for Creating Animal Respect Education

WHAT’S SPECIAL about CARE: I love that CARE loves animal Reiki! But CARE doesn’t just help animals; the organization helps the local community, too, by assisting with disaster relief as needed, teaching students at the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration how to run a nonprofit, offering externships to students of the Florida Institute of Animal Arts, and providing facility tours and hands-on time with some of the animals to autistic and special-needs children. All of these fantastic programs exist because of CARE’s amazing founder, Christin Burford, who has, through her love of animals and hard work, manifested one of the most amazing exotic animal sanctuaries in the world. Walking the property, visitors can’t help but feel the love and peace that Christin has created. This is a one-of-a-kind place!

SIZE OF the sanctuary: 10 acres

NUMBER OF animals at the sanctuary: More than 200

TRAVEL TIPS: Call in advance if you want to visit; private guided tours promise an “up close and personal” experience with the animals. Plus, as mentioned above, I visit and teach Reiki and meditation classes at CARE every February—I’d love to see you at next year’s classes!

{Slideshow photos © Kathleen Prasad and The CARE Foundation}